Idea: Using a Penalty System to Drastically Reduce the Potential for People to Game Movie Ratings

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  • Updated 9 months ago
I don't think the site currently supports a weighted rating system, but people trying to boost their own bad movies are getting worse and worse.

It's easy to spot a dodgy rating if there's 1 vote and it's 10/10, but people who abuse the system are getting more sophisticated.

I have some ideas to help people avoid being tricked by misleading ratings:

If there's less than 30 (arbitrary low number) of ratings submitted, provide visual cue in stars that allows users to easily identify that a low cross-section of users have rated the film, such as using a paler colour on the star icons and a lighter grey text for the rating number.

There are a couple of indicators of people trying to game the system that come to mind, but more could easily be added.

So we need to set up our two obvious traps:

Votes coming from the same IP
Votes coming from an account that has registered and only voted on that single movie

People who fall into the above traps should be flagged for penalty. The first vote that falls into a trap has 100% weight, but each subsequent vote that falls into the same trap inflicts a penalty that grows exponentially with each subsequent vote caught in that specific trap.

While people gaming the system are likely to vote 10 or 1, as they become more savvy they might try to push the rating ever more gently in their desired direction to avoid triggering traps, so while a vote might fall into the trap, it should also have the opportunity for a partial reprieve based on how extreme the vote is - so trapped votes of 10 or 1 should bear the full blow of the penalty, 9s and 2s should only suffer 75% of the weight reduction (so in actuality rather than a further 50% reduction, only 75% of the reduction would be applied to that vote, meaning that it would suffer an effective 37.5% reduction from previous vote, and the next vote is weighted at 50% of the previous vote, with reprieves disregarded in this calculation), 3s and 8s are relieved of 50% of the penalty (so 25% weight reduction from previous vote in trap), 4s 5s and 6s are exempt from additional penalties as they can be considered neutral votes.

I hope I'm explaining this in a way that makes sense. It's a simple concept, but I find myself editing over and over to try and make it as clear as possible rather than an incomprehensible circular rant. From a code perspective it would be super easy to implement, and would make the ratings system far less vulnerable to gaming. Obviously I've pulled the numbers out of my butt, and you could tweak them to your liking, but I think they should be somewhere in the ballpark of my proposed numbers.

Simple to implement, effective in combatting people trying to boost or bomb their own/their friend's movie, or a movie that offends their delicate sensibilities by suggesting a controversial political position such as "nazis are bad".

Happy to answer any questions or comments, or defend my idea if anyone has a reasonable argument as to why it's a bad idea.
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Kris McCann

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Posted 9 months ago

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